From education to employment

Apply for Department for Education (DfE) personal data


By default all personal data will be accessed via the Office for National Statistics Secure Research Service (ONS SRS). However, where the SRS is not suitable and evidence can be provided to support this, the following exemptions on the use of SRS for sharing data will be considered:

data is being processed to fulfil an essential public task such as the running of education or children’s services
you are doing research funded by, or commissioned by, the Department for Education (DfE) and its executive agencies or other government departments
you are doing research that is sponsored or supported by DfE and its executive agencies as adding significant value to the evidence base supporting education or children’s services

If you are unsure, contact [email protected].

Apply to DfE for access to DfE personal data through the ONS SRS

Anyone who needs to access DfE, Linked Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) or Linked Ministry of Justice (MoJ) personal data via the Secure Research Service must be accredited under the ONS approved researcher scheme. We recommend that you begin this process as soon as possible and take steps to become accredited by ONS in parallel to your application.

Contact [email protected] with any questions.

When you are ready to apply, please complete the application form (MS Word Document, 177 KB) using the accompanying guidance (PDF, 430 KB, 41 pages), and submit your data requirements on the relevant data tables. You may also find the digital Find and explore NPD tool helpful when working out which data items you need from NPD.

The data sharing service is here to help you:

progress your application through the data sharing service
access the right data for your project
document the data share through a signed data sharing agreement, memorandum of understanding, or a commercial contract

Data Tables

Use these data tables to provide your data requirements:

All completed applications must be submitted to [email protected].

Once you are an ONS approved researcher and your data application has been approved, there are 3 ways you can access DfE data for approved projects through the Secure Research Service.

You can use:

physical labs: you can book a session to access DfE data at 1 of 5 ONS locations across the UK
Safepod: available for approved researchers and can currently be found in these locations
remote access: once your organisation meets security standards and has organised connectivity with ONS, you can access data online using your own equipment subject to specified conditions

Apply for direct access to DfE personal data

Before applying for DfE personal data, you must:

Apply for Longitudinal Education Outcome directly from ONS SRS

For access to Longitudinal Education Outcome data you can apply directly to ONS. You do not need to complete a DfE application form.

Future developments

We are continuing to improve the ways you can access DfE data, including:

applying for Growing Up in England (GUIE) data directly from ONS
applying for National Pupil Database (NPD) directly from ONS

For more information on future developments, please contact [email protected].

Published 7 January 2022

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